2020 | Coronavirus

Updated: Bethesda liquor store employee, four Fire & Rescue members test positive for COVID-19

Residents and staff members at three nursing homes also contracted the virus

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Montgomery County officials announced Friday that multiple people had tested positive for coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, including an employee at a Bethesda liquor store, four Fire & Rescue members, and residents and staff at three county nursing homes.

Montgomery County’s Alcohol Beverage Services division said a worker at Hampden Lane Liquor & Wine at 4920 Hampden Lane in Bethesda was sent home on Wednesday after feeling ill, according to a press release on Friday.

The employee later tested positive for the virus. The press release did not give additional details.

ABS closed the store last weekend so that it could be cleaned, and it was still closed as of Monday morning, according to an automated voicemail message.

Other ABS retail stores have started installing plexiglass barriers to ensure there is distance between customers and employees at the register.

“We are temporarily closing the store to thoroughly disinfect it and have asked all our staff who have come into contact with this employee to voluntarily self-quarantine and monitor for fever and respiratory symptoms,” Kent Massie, ABS’s chief of retail, said in the press release.

ABS is advising anyone who was in the Bethesda store on Monday or Tuesday to monitor their temperature and respiratory symptoms.

Fire & Rescue announced Friday in a press release that four members tested positive for COVID-19, which included career and volunteer members. The department wrote that 19 members, including the four with the virus, have been quarantined.

None of the cases happened due to contact at work, the department wrote in the press release.

Fire Chief Scott Goldstein wrote that Fire & Rescue has the “appropriate levels of personal protective equipment” and is making sure its fire stations and vehicles are cleaned regularly.

Earlier this month, Gov. Larry Hogan said a volunteer firefighter in Montgomery County who lives in Virginia had been diagnosed with COVID-19. That firefighter, Hogan said, had attended services at a church in Washington, D.C., whose rector had tested positive. It was not clear from the press release whether the four cases announced on Friday included this case.

The county’s Health and Human Services department said Friday that three residents at the Brighton Gardens nursing home in North Bethesda tested positive for COVID-19. The residents were two men in their 80s and a man in his 60s, according to a press release. All three men are in the hospital, the health department said.Some staff members are self-quarantining if they were identified as an “exposure risk,” the health department said, and residents are being watched for signs of fever and coughing.

The county also announced Friday that a staff member at Fox Chase Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Silver Spring and a staff member at the Fairland Center nursing home in Fairland tested positive. Both staff members are self-quarantining, the press release stated.Both Silver Spring-area nursing home staff members live in neighboring jurisdictions, but Montgomery County’s health department is investigating to see who they had contact with, the press release stated. “Relevant staff members” in both cases have been advised to self-quarantine, the press release stated.

County officials wrote that they think the risk of exposure to COVID-19 from the nursing homes is low because visiting restrictions were put in place earlier this month as the virus began to spread, limiting who could be there.

Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s health officer, urged people to obey social distancing guidelines.“We continue to urge everyone in the community to follow these practices to stay well and protect those most vulnerable: do not go out unless necessary, do not gather in groups of more than 10 people, maintain distance between you and others, stay home if you are sick and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds,” he said in the press release.

As of Friday morning, there were 208 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County and 774 in Maryland.

The state Department of Health announced Friday that an Anne Arundel County man in his 80s had died. The man is the fifth Marylander to die from the virus, including a woman in her 40s from Montgomery County.